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Androcles and the Lion

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Craig Butler
Androcles and the Lion is a pleasant and enjoyable, if not totally faithful, adaptation of the George Bernard Shaw play. Unlike those Shaw adaptations produced during the playwright's lifetime, Androcles has been significantly cut and rewritten; while this makes for a much shorter film, it also makes for one that is somewhat disjointed and a bit lacking in Shavian wit and intellect. Still, there's enough of the old master to make Androcles unmistakably the work of a fine mind, albeit one operating in a lighter mode than usual. Chester Erskine's direction is fine and efficient, if a bit superficial, but the production is quite lovely to look at. Certainly, Victor Mature and Jean Simmons are equally easy on the eye, though Mature is stiff and doesn't bring much insight to his role. Simmons is much better, finding nuances that enrich her character significantly. As Androcles, Alan Young is quite good, a sweet and unaffected soul who embodies the best of Christian virtues, and who contrasts well with Robert Newton muscular, bombastic, and highly entertaining Ferrovius. As Caesar, Maurice Evans has one of his finest screen roles and takes advantage of every single opportunity; seeing him here, one wishes his talents had been better utilized on film. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi
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